Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Blog

I'm focusing my energy on a new blog: Dr. Jim's Blog. You can find it at http://mceachernumc.blogspot.com

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm B-a-a-a-c-k!

I've taken a good bit of time off from blogging since coming back to the States. I've been spending this time getting reacquainted with my family, traveling, and starting at my new church.

Almost immediately after returning we spent 9 days at the beach. Pam (my wife) asked if I really wanted to see sand again. I told her that as long as there was water and no one was trying to kill me I was more than happy to go to the beach. Not long after that we visited family in the Western North Carolina mountains. It's great to see all the greenery after a year and a half of desert.

The new church is great. We have a wonderful staff that I have already grown to appreciate and love. August 26th was my first Sunday with 1,400 in worship. Even this weekend, with the long holiday, had good attendance. The people have been very welcoming and gracious.

It was on Labor Day last year that I flew from Kuwait to Iraq. It's hard to believe that a year has passed and that I will be partying with friends in a few hours rather than conducting "business as normal". As anyone over there can tell you; there are no holidays in a combat zone.

I don't know what I will do with this blog now, or if anyone is still checking it. I may shut it down and start a "Dr. Jim's blog" If you have any suggestions, make sure to let me know!

God bless you all. Thanks for reading and sharing this past year's adventure with me. Have a great Labor Day!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Well, shoot, we got stuck overnight in Spain, how terrible!

But a $27 a night BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters) with indoor plumbing, a queen size bed, and all the amenities of home made it okay. We flew out the next day. The flight crew allowed me in the cockpit for the flight. C-5's are huge airframes, so it was fun to watch the crew work to get it off the ground and then around some thunderheads. I took a few pics and will post them when I can get on a computer that will allow me to do so.

Last night we arrived at Ft. Hood, and today we spent the entire day in briefings. Tomorrow will be a reset day, Monday will be reverse SRP (Soldier Readiness Processing) and if I'm lucky (very lucky) I'll fly home on Tuesday. After a two weeks on terminal leave I will come off Title 10 and be more "Citizen" than "Soldier".

Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. I can't wait to come the rest of the way home and see you all.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

God Likes Me!

Yesterday afternoon I was wandering around brigade, saying farewell to some friends and looking forward to leaving late at night the next day or following morning. Then someone asked, "Hey Chappie, do you want to go on the supercargo tonight?" Now for those of you who are unaware of what I am talking about, these were the options:

1. I could wait until the late night of the 12th or early morning of the 13th and fly to Kuwait in a Sherpa wearing full battle rattle. I could then spend anywhere from a day to a week or longer in 135 degree heat, sleeping in a tent waiting for a plane. Then I would be bused to an airport and fly to the east coast of the US. I would then change planes and head to Ft. Hood.


2. I could go on a C-5 Galaxy (55 seats with three passengers). I would land and spend half a day in Rota Spain with my 2 other friends, then fly to the east coast in comfort to spend a half day there, then on to Texas. No battle rattle. No customs. No Kuwait.

So, hello from Rota, Spain! It is a beautiful 90 degrees (as opposed to the 120 it is supposed to be in the shade in Balad today). The sky is a beautiful mediterranean blue, and the grass is a verdant green. I have not seen this beautiful a sight in a long, long, time. We had a nice lunch at an outside cafe and will soon be heading over to the gym for a shower. Tonight we head for the US.

Best of all - WE'RE OUT OF IRAQ!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bronze Star

To all who shall see these presents, greeting: This is to certify that the President of the United States of America authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded
The Bronze Star Medal
Major James B. Higgins, United States Army
For exceptionally meritorious service during operation Iraqi Freedom. His outstanding dedication to duty during combat operations in Iraq contributed to the overwhelming success of the command’s mission. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and the United States Army.
From 30 August 2006 to 14 August 2007
Given by my hand in the City of Washington
This 15th day of June 2007
Raymond T. Odierno
Lieutenant General, USA
PO 166-020, 15 June 2007
It has been awhile since I have posted due to my schedule, and trying to get to a computer that will allow me to post to my blog. The good news is that my delay has been in large part to wrapping things up here. This week I will leave for Kuwait, and, Lord willing, by this time next week I will be at Ft. Hood. The next stop after that is home!
I'll keep you apprised.

Monday, June 18, 2007

No More Boxes!

Since November I have received over 2,000 boxes valued at over $100,000 to share with the Soldiers here. You have inundated us with beef jerky, twizzlers, shampoo, dvd's and a host of other items. On behalf of all the guys and gals here, THANK YOU!

However, my time here is short. We are told to cut off mail 30 days out, and I am near that magic number, Lord willing. So, my time now will be spent packing up, shipping things home, and preparing things for the Chaplain who will follow me. If you want to send more boxes, email me at jim.higgins@us.army.mil and I will give you the name and mailing address for a chaplain who can receive your items after 1 SEP.

On another note, the article that appears below entitled "Soldiers" has certainly made the rounds. I am receiving emails from all over the world about the piece. The Sergeant Major of the Army, Kenneth Preston has received it, as have GEN's Casey and Cody. Thanks for sharing it with your friends.

I will continuing posting to this blog as I am able during my time remaining here, and as I transition through Kuwait and the States. Thanks for taking the time over the past year to read it, and especially for your comments.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


One thing I have not spoken about on this blog is food.

Quick quiz. We eat in a:

1. DFAC (Dining Facility)
2. Mess Hall
3. Chow Hall
4. All of the Above

Actually, we eat at the DFAC, but we go to “chow”. Mess Hall is another era.
Do you remember eating in the cafeteria in high school or college? Imagine doing that 24/7 365 days a year, since 6 March 2006. And no, Domino’s doesn’t deliver to Iraq. I should weigh either 300 pounds or 100.

Tuesdays, however, are my favorite: Mongolian BBQ. We go through the line and put whatever we want on the plastic plate. I usually opt for shrimp, polish sausage, garlic, broccoli, garlic butter, spaghetti, and red pepper flakes. The KBR folks then throw it all on a grill and cook it. I figure it is not half bad because I make half of it.

Breakfast is my other favorite meal. But how can you mess up single serving cereal, radiated milk from a carton, a banana (when fresh fruit is available) coffee, and orange juice in a carton, all with Arabic writing?

My friends who know how much I like to cook must know how much this is driving me crazy. So, when I get home it’s pork tenderloin, pulled pork, baby back ribs, t-bones, chicken parmesan over angel hair pasta, grilled chicken quesadillas, lasagna, seafood linguine, spatchcock chicken, omelets, and whatever else I can find in Bon Apetit, Gourmet, and Southern Living.

I haven’t figured out what I’ll make for my second meal.